Breaking and entering is a felony offense in Michigan, punishable by up to a maximum of 10 years in prison. To prove a breaking and entering offense, a prosecutor must prove three elements beyond a reasonable doubt that (1) the defendant broke into a building, (2) the defendant entered into the building, and (3) the defendant intended to commit larceny or another felony at the time he or she broke into and entered the building.
This crime is not the same as Home Invasion. For Home Invasion click here.
Prosecutors must prove each element of a breaking and entering charge beyond a reasonable doubt. Proof beyond a reasonable doubt is the highest burden of persuasion in United States courts. It requires the prosecutor to prove each element so that an average person has no specific reason to believe otherwise. Reasonable doubt is more than a possible or imagined doubt. If the prosecutor cannot prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt you should be found NOT GUILTY!
In order to prove that someone broke into a building, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant used any amount of force to open a door or otherwise enter a building, such as opening a window. Breaking in does not occur when the defendant has consent or the right to enter the building.
Intent to Commit Larceny or Another Felony
A person commits larceny when he or she steals money, property, or other items from another person. Although breaking into and entering a building does not automatically prove the intent to commit larceny or another felony inside the building, such intent can be established through testimony about the circumstances, including the nature, time, and place of the defendant’s acts during the breaking and entering.
There are a number of defenses against a charge of breaking and entering. Because breaking and entering must be specifically intended, a defense may exist if the defendant was intoxicated or believed he or she had consent or the right to enter the building. In order for intoxication to be a defense, the defendant must be so intoxicated that the defendant is not conscious of what he or she is doing.
Breaking and entering is a separate offense from any crimes committed while within the building. If a defendant enters a building without breaking in and commits a crime, he or she is not also guilty of breaking and entering.
Punishments for Breaking and Entering
If the prosecutor proves all three elements of a breaking and entering offense beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant may be punished by up to 10 years in prison, although a lesser prison sentence and probation is possible.
If you have been charged with breaking and entering or another crime, contact Aaron J. Boria, PLLC. Aaron Boria is a criminal defense lawyer who has handled hundreds of cases across Oakland County, Wayne County and across Michigan. Contact Aaron for your free consultation today 734-453-7806